Mandala_exp

This mandala is commonly found in monasteries and retreat centers in the Mahasi Sayadaw tradition of Theravada Buddhist meditation. One such hangs in the entranceway at a monastery/retreat center in Lumbini, Nepal where I’ve practiced almost annually for many years. Over the years of glancing at it and sometimes taking time to study it, I’ve learned its lesson through practice. I’ve learned that when the mental factors of faith/confidence, energy/effort, mindfulness, concentration, wisdom with virtue are combined and balanced, many doors to spiritual insight can be opened. It takes a combination of all these mental factors with virtue in balance to open the door.
A consciously cultivated intentional mental training towards harmlessness linked with the cultivation of wholesome mind states is what separates a spiritual meditation practice from a simple mental training. Virtue and clear comprehension (sampajañña) combined with the power of meditation opens the door to spiritual realization, which otherwise remains closed when not linked together. The combined practice of mindfulness with the other listed mental factors, and virtue, naturally channels the mind/heart towards a saintly happiness because one’s effort is rooted in wisdom and compassion. Mindfulness opens the door to Wisdom, virtue opens the door to Compassion, and together they open the door to meditative freedom.
Buddha sunset
mandala

Pañña/wisdom

Saddhā/faith or confidence

Viriya/energy or effort

Sati/mindfulness

Samādhi/concentration

Sīla/virtue